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I'm getting frustrated with the lack of constructive comments to my questions. I have asked what I know to be stupid questions but lets face it the question is stupid because I know next to nothing about the topic. I need a way to elicit a constructive conversation so I can figure out which question to ask.

Most often I get a comment that says something like "you obviously don't understand this topic", here is a good example. How should I ask for help when I don't know what question to ask?

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Your example is not a link to a comment (I see a question, but it does not point out a specific comment), please provide a link to the specific example you want to talk about. –  Doorknob Jun 18 '13 at 22:27
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Well, there's only one comment there from someone other than the OP. I wouldn't put too much stock in that comment; it's perfectly reasonable to have on-line and off-line tables, or test and production tables. What's more important here is the nature of the question you asked. –  Robert Harvey Jun 18 '13 at 22:33
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If you don't know what to ask, then you need to take a step back, do some more research and thinking, and then come back if/when you have a worthwhile question for SO. –  Jack Maney Jun 18 '13 at 22:55
    
Since this is the meta section, I have been watching the up and down vote go back and forth on this question. I have been voted up three times and down twice. It seems like there are some differences in opinion as to weather this is even a valid question. –  Zach Jun 18 '13 at 23:03
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@Zach Your Meta question is valid, voting sometimes works a bit differently on Meta. –  Yannis Jun 19 '13 at 0:25

2 Answers 2

I'm going to start by pointing out that the question you linked isn't a good fit for StackOverflow. This was likely the reason it was downvoted, and is likely the reason it will be closed. The reason I say this is due to its subjective nature - nobody will be able to answer for you whether or not an approach is feasible.

We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. -- "Not Constructive" flag reason

The question does not fit the desired format of StackOverflow. However, and more to your point, this also exhibits a lack of understanding of the topic. StackOverflow is not a place for discussion or a "constructive conversation" as such. SO is the place for specific questions with specific answers.

So, in short, if you don't know what question to ask, do more research first. Figure out what it is you're trying to do, and figure out how the tool you're using is supposed to accomplish that task. Then, when you are stuck, you may have a question we can answer.

I suggest reading through this Help Center topic on subjective questions.

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If I exhibit a lack of understanding on a topic, I would hope that someone would at least say "maybe you should research XYZ". I guess I am expecting too much, or I'm sure some would say missing the point. I just don't see the world in such black and white terms, ie every question must have a specific answer. –  Zach Jun 18 '13 at 22:41
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@Zach We encourage questions with specific, or at least detailed answers. While there are very occasionally subjective questions allowed, they must draw from niche experience and facts to pass. Effectively all questions need specific answers. I suggest reading through this Help Center topic about subjective questions. –  Emrakul Jun 18 '13 at 22:51

I need a way to elicit a constructive conversation so I can figure out which question to ask.

That's explicitly not what StackOverflow is for. StackOverflow is not an tool for refining vague questions into crisp questions; it's a tool for answering crisp questions.

How should I ask for help when I don't know what question to ask?

You shouldn't ask StackOverflow for help when you don't know what question to ask. If you don't understand a topic well enough to ask a clear question about it then find a blog on that topic, or read a book, or take a course, or talk to your peers, or talk to your supervisors, or watch some YouTube videos on the subject, or do whatever it is that you do when you need to learn something. Then come back here when you have a clear, specific, technical question about actual code.

I'm getting frustrated with the lack of constructive comments to my questions.

I'd be frustrated too if I were trying to drive screws with a hammer. StackOverflow isn't the tool that does the job you need done, so it's going to be frustrating if you keep expecting it to be something its not.

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